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Poll: Noem's favorability tops other statewide officials, and Trump, among SD Republicans

Governor's Office
Governor's Office

Governor Kristi Noem has the highest support among South Dakota Republicans for statewide office holders.

That’s according to a new poll released by a research group housed in the School of American and Global Studies at South Dakota State University.

Results from the survey of 1,200 respondents say Noem has a "thermometer rating" of 75 on a scale from 1 to 100, with a higher score indicating warmer feelings toward a politician. That support has remained steady since October 2020, and it's higher than former President Donald Trump's current thermometer rating of 73 from South Dakota Republicans in the poll.

A state lawmaker is even campaigning on his support for Noem.

Tim Goodwin
Tim Goodwin

Tim Goodwin is a Republican running for state Senate in the southwest corner of the state.

“For anybody to run against her in the first place doesn’t make sense to me,” Goodwin says. “To think that they’re going to beat her is not politically being smart — especially on the Republican side. If somebody wants to run on the general [election], that’s a different deal on the Democrats’ side, which would be in November. But for somebody to run against Governor Noem in the primary — and I’ll prove that point on June 7th — that that was not a smart move.”

Former Speaker of the House Steve Haugaard is running against Noem in the primary election.

Representative Dusty Johnson and Senators John Thune and Mike Rounds have thermometer ratings in the low 60s from South Dakota Republicans. When results from Democrats, independents and other voters are included, Johnson has the highest rating, followed by Thune, Rounds and Noem.

2022 thermometer
David Wiltse

David Wiltse is a political scientist at SDSU. He says Noem has a close affiliation with Trump, while perceptions of South Dakota’s congressional delegates are more establishment-oriented "than people like Noem or Trump or some of these others.”

“Their political style reflects that," Wiltse says. "Right now, there’s this tension in the Republican Party between the more institutional types and the more populist types. At the moment, populists are edging out the more institutional types in most states.”

However, Wiltse says that’s not definitive. The poll finds Thune and Johnson have solid support heading into the primary election.

Lee Strubinger is SDPB’s Rapid City-based news and political reporter. A former reporter for Fort Lupton Press (CO) and Colorado Public Radio, Lee holds a master’s in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield.